Lunch at Hoppers, St. Christopher’s Place Marylebone

Hoppers is an Sri Lankan and Tamil Nadu inspired restaurant, with two restaurants in central London. The first restaurant opened in Soho and is only for walk ins and seats up to 40 people. This became very successful, so they opened a second restaurant on St Christopher’s Place, on the junction of Wigmore Street (which happens to be near my work, great excuse to go out for lunch regularly!) This restaurant is much bigger with two floors and outside seating, which can sit up to 85 people.

My friend Kiran booked the restaurant in St Christopher’s Place, a 3 minutes walk from Bond Street tube station to celebrate her birthday! The interior was modern – white minimal decor, the use of space was impeccable. The ambience was relaxed and the staff were friendly and very attentive.

Our booking was from 1.30pm to 3pm but they didn’t rush us out at all. The staff explained the menu with recommendations that helped us choose our ultimate dishes. Our water was topped up constantly, without us having to wave them down. We were informed that if the dish was ready, they would automatically serve it.

To start we shared the Podi Appalams – crispy with a light coating of chilli powder, it reminded me of popadoms but a little bit thicker in texture – I could only eat a few fragments as I’m not great with spice however my friends loved them!

I ordered the Egg Hopper (v) (fermented rice and coconut milk batter with a fried egg in the middle), our waiter suggested the Seeni Sambol (camelised onions with chilli and oil) which was a great dip for the egg hopper. It gave it a richer taste, a sweet and spicy kick to the dish. I also ordered the Aubergine Kari (v) curry to go with it all. To drink I chose their Sputnik Pale Ale this golden coloured beer was strong in flavour, hints of tropical and citrus flavours that helped cool my tastebuds.

Claire chose from their vegan menu Sambhar Vadai (v) – lentils and a crispy dumpling in the middle, delicious however I personally found the spice crept up on me even after a bite, so if I had the dish I don’t think my tastebuds would have approved. For her main she chose the Dosa (v) (fermented batter of ground rice and lentils) and the Squash + Sweet Potato Kari (v). To drink she chose the Lion Lager with her curry option which complimented each other well, the lager was tasty with hints of fruit and caramel flavouring.

Kiran also chose the Sambhar Vadai (v), and had the Hopper (v) (fermented rice and coconut milk batter), and the Prawn Kari. A tasty dish however the spice kicked in from the get go for me, but Kiran enjoyed every mouthful and wipe the bowl clean! To drink she had the Arrack Attack no 2 – Ceylon Arrack – Fresh Lime – Cucumber – Spicy Ginger Beer – Turmeric – I thought it was refreshing and had a zing to it, great for the summer weather.

We all thought the curries were rich in flavour, and the heat added a real kick to the dishes. I thought the aubergine was the less spicy dish on the table, then Squash + Sweet Potato Kari and then the Prawn Kari – we all loved our individual dishes and we highly recommend them!

Unfortunately there wasn’t a vegan dessert for Claire but from her gesturing to her tummy we can safely say she was full. Kiran and I both ate their Love Cake Ice Cream Sandwich – vanilla ice cream with crunchy nut in the centre and soft sponge on either side, this was a great palette cleanser from the spice and to cool us down from the heat.

When the bill arrived there was a donation of £1 to a charity called ‘Kind Hearted Lankans’ where they support with raising awareness and funds to help those impacted by the Easter Sunday attacks in Colombo. We all wanted to contribute and added it to our bill splitting it 3 ways, a total of £36 each – we thought this was great value for money, a must try if you love a bit of spice in your life!

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